Internet search engine LookSmart and i-Escrow Inc. announced this morning ‘The Buy It! Button’ which will eliminate the financial risk to small-scale merchants of selling online. The new tool will enable users to accept credit card and non-credit card orders online with no up-front investment or flat rate service charges. Users are only charged fees for the service when transactions are completed. All transactions initiated with the ‘Buy It! Button’ will be completed using i-Escrow online escrow services. The proceeds of each sale are only released to the seller once the buyer has received the shipment and has had an opportunity to inspect the purchase. Both companies said this morning that this new process ensures that merchants get paid for a sale and that buyers receive the purchased item in satisfactory condition, thereby removing the risks of online transactions for both parties.Details
CT-based smart card manufacturer PubliCARD, Inc. Friday reported consolidated sales of $6.3 million for the second quarter, an increase of 52% from $4.1 million in the prior year period. The company also reported a loss from continuing operations of $3.2 million in the second quarter, compared to a loss of $941,000 in 1998. During the second quarter PubliCARD introduced ‘SmartReward’, a smart card-based loyalty program designed for retailers who seek to improve customer retention and reward customer loyalty. Other recent smart card-based rollouts include: ‘PCDefender’ (computer security); ‘SmartGuardian’ (library web-filtering); ‘SmartPassky’ (Internet password management); and ‘DataFast D-101’ (hand-held remote data transfer tool). For more details on PubliCARD’s 2Q/99 visit CardData ([www.carddata.com]).
Print ads for bankrate.com have been cleaned up. FL-based Intelligent Life Corp., launched this month, a $2 million print advertising campaign for its bankrate.com web site, with insertions in news, business, computer and personal finance publications. According to CardWatch (www.cardwatch.com), CardWeb’s marketing intelligence service, the first ad to run appeared in the August 9th issue of U.S. News & World Reports. The ad’s message: “The government ensures that no more than .0009% of your food is rodent feces. Every Percent Counts. Bankrate.com.”. CardWatch says within a few days the ads published in Time Magazine and The Wall Street Journal were sanitized to read: “The government ensures that no more than .0009% of your food is ‘foreign matter’. Every Percent Counts. Bankrate.com.” The print advertising campaign was developed by Crispin Porter Bogusky of Miami. The print ad campaign is part of a $20 million integrated communications program to establish brand awareness and build site traffic for Intelligent Life’s web sites. Other key elements of the integrated communications program include a $10 million online banner and sponsorship program lead by Left Field in San Francisco, and a public relations program developed by Boston-based Miller/Shandwick Technologies. Intelligent Life went public in May.Details
The United States Student Association and MasterCard International Thursday announced a joint program to begin student-to-student personal finance training on college campuses. The effort seeks to engage USSA’s three million members to become student-teachers and guide their peers in understanding key financial concepts. USSA and MasterCard will make personal finance materials available at the primary sources for information on campus such as student newspapers, at registration, on the Internet, and in the dorms. Among the materials to be distributed are handouts designed to increase awareness of core financial concepts. MasterCard and USSA have also produced protective credit card covers that bear specific do’s and don’ts about credit card use and responsible spending. The materials direct students to creditalk.com, a MasterCard website designed to assist college-aged credit card users with tools that help them manage finances and avoid debt.Details
Capital One has dispatched solicitations to real estate developers and brokers in the Northern Virginia suburbs for a site to build a corporate campus. Capital One is looking for 1.0 million to 1.5 million square feet of office space to handle between 4,000 and 6,000 employees. Capital One has about 12,000 employees in the U.S. According to sources involved in the search, Capital One is looking to select its new site by the end of 1999 and then move employees in by October 2001. Cap One’s search has focused on the following areas in Northern Virginia: Tysons Corner; Falls Church; McLean; Alexandria; Merrifield; and Arlington. The firm currently has offices and operations in Richmond, Falls Church and Fredericksburg, all in Virginia.Details
DBT Online, Inc. announced that Ron Fournet, Chief Information & Technology Officer, has been named President and CEO, replacing Charles A. Lieppe, who resigned as an Officer and Director effective immediately due to personal reasons.
“A sudden illness in my immediate family made it impossible for me to devote my full attention to DBT,” said Mr. Lieppe, who joined DBT as President and CEO in 1997. Mr. Lieppe is known for leading the development and launch of the Company’s successful [www.autotrackxp.com] secure anti-fraud, anti-crime information web site and guiding the Company’s national expansion from its Florida roots. “I’m very confident that with Ron’s leadership skills, DBT will continue to aggressively expand through internal growth and acquisition,” he continued. “To help ensure that, I plan to make myself available to him between now and the end of the year to effect a smooth transition.”
Frank Borman, Chairman of DBT, said Mr. Lieppe’s resignation signals no change in corporate strategy or performance. “Speaking for the Board of Directors and the entire Company, we hope for the best for Chuck and his family,” Mr. Borman said. “Chuck has been instrumental to DBT’s growth. Looking ahead, we think Ron is an excellent choice to continue and expand upon Chuck’s work. Ron has extensive experience in the information technology business and has already demonstrated great leadership at DBT.”
In January, Mr. Lieppe created the Chief Information & Technology Officer executive management position to recruit Mr. Fournet from Equifax Inc., where Mr. Fournet was Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of North American operations. At Equifax, Mr. Fournet helped expand the credit information company’s value-added, online “decisioning” products into a significant line of business. These products help commercial institutions analyze massive financial databases to decide on a real-time basis whether to grant consumer or business credit.
“We see a similar business opportunity at DBT to develop increasingly powerful, next-generation services that can help companies speed decision making, reduce risk, and create opportunity,” Mr. Fournet explained. “These new services will be based on the more extensive array of public record and other information that is uniquely available to us through DBT’s massive database. In turn, this should enable us to continue and even accelerate our record of high-profit growth.”
After spending eight years in Army Special Forces Intelligence Operations, Mr. Fournet began his corporate career with GTE Corporation, where he was responsible for advanced software development and applied research for new development technologies. Later, he served US West, where he led its Advanced Technology Information Architecture organization and new business ventures requiring advanced innovative systems development and business-driven systems management. He joined Equifax in 1996 as VP-Application Development and later assumed additional responsibilities as the Company’s Senior VP/CTO for North America.
DBT Online, Inc. ([www.dbtonline.com]) is a leading nationwide provider of online public record data and other publicly available information. DBT’s database is one of the country’s largest depositories of public records and other public information, containing more than 4 billion records, with more than 25 terabytes of data storage capacity. DBT currently has more than 14,000 customers consisting primarily of insurance companies, law firms, private investigators, law enforcement, and government agencies.
The definition of technical standards for GeldKarte terminals in cigarette machines was the occasion of a meeting at the “Heinz Nixdorf Museum Forum” to which ORGA Kartensysteme GmbH had invited well-known machine, terminal and software vendors and the Bundesverband Deutscher Tabakwaren-Groh¤ndler und Automatenaufsteller e.V. (BDTA = Federal Association of Tobacco Wholesalers and Automated Machine Installers). The main concern of the participants at the conference was to promote payment with the German electronic purse i.e. GeldKarte, especially at cigarette machines.
“The advantages are obvious as payment will be made quicker and easier for customers. You no longer need to have the right change, breaking open the machines is pointless and in the long term rationalisation is possible due to the reduced need to handle coins,” stated Klaus Ott, the sectional head of the BDTA.
Around 1000 machines accepting payment by the GeldKarte will be installed nation-wide in August this year as part of an acceptance test. “At the moment, Germans are still too much in love with cash,” regrets Ott. But he continued by pointing out that the future is clearly in payment by card and that this was already a matter of course for the young generation. The electronic cash cycle is simple: the person who fills up the machine unloads the electronic cash with an MDE (mobile data entry terminal). Data is transferred contactlessly by infrared. In this way, it is possible to determine immediately how much normal cash and how much electronic cash should be in the machine. This amount is then tallied with the cash in the machine and the number of cigarette packs withdrawn. The MDE transfers this data daily to a PC of the machine installer. The PC detects the data for the electronic cash and sends it by modem to the various bank clearing centres. The amounts are then credited to the account of the machine installer within 24 hours.
ORGA Kartensysteme GmbH is one of the pioneers and market leaders in the smart card industry. It is jointly owned by Bundesdruckerei, Berlin, (74.9%) and DETECON GmbH (25.1%). With subsidiaries, sales offices and joint ventures in Great Britain, France, the US, Russia, China, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Denmark, Brazil and Singapore, ORGA enjoys a worldwide presence. In 1998, ORGA’s 845-strong workforce generated sales of DM 302 million.
For more information on ORGA, please visit our web site at [www.orga.com]
The Federal Trade Commission, state Attorneys General from six states and state banking officials Thursday announced the results of ‘OPERATION ADVANCE FEE LOAN’. The latest crackdown on telemarketing companies and individuals allegedly engaging in advance fee loan scams netted eight cases filed and/or settled by the Commission, and ten cases filed by state Attorney Generals, including three cease and desist orders issued by state banking officials. The latest sweep also included the participation of Canadian law enforcement authorities who have taken criminal actions against more than 120 Canadian advance fee loan scam operators who prey on American citizens. In all of the FTC cases announced Thursday, the defendants were charged with violating the FTC Act and the Telemarketing Sales Rule by misrepresenting that consumers would receive a credit card for an advance fee; by charging a fee in advance of consumers receiving the promised credit card; and in two of the cases, misrepresenting that consumers would receive a refund of their fee if they did not get the promised credit card. In conjunction with yesterday’s announcement the FTC and the state Attorneys General joined with their education campaign partners to issue tips and warnings to consumers. The FTC says it is also alerting commercial mail receiving agents that they may be involved in a fraudulent scheme when they are asked by a mailbox holder to forward large volumes of mail to other addresses within the U.S. or to other countries. Additionally, the FTC says it is writing to more than 7500 publishers of classified ads through the country to encourage them to warn their readers that ads promising loans or extensions of credit are likely to be scams.Details
While Advanta and First Union experienced a negative reaction from cardholders over its account closing fees, such fees are not dead. According to the latest pricing survey by CardTrak ([www.cardtrak.com]) First National Bank of Brookings, SD, a secured card specialist, is not only charging a $25 account closing fee it has also instituted a $25 account handling fee. FNB’s account closing fee is assessed whether or not the account is closed by the issuer or the cardholder. The account handing fee is imposed whenever the cardholder is in default and FNB has to place restrictions on the account.
Los AngelesPayPoint Electronic Payment Systems has just signed a three-year deals to process credit transactions for Klickback.com, Inc., a loading Internet retailer and owner of the proprietary rewards currency, iRewards.
‘We needed a payment solution that was sophisticated, yet simple for our shoppers to use,’ said Peter Taylor, Executive Vice President for Klickback.com. ‘PayPoint created an e-payment processing system that file our immediate and future needs. We are left to focus on attracting and retaining a significant base name products, services and vacations at low prices, and the ability to earn iRewards from a variety of sources on and offline.’
‘Brick and mortar retail store fronts are giving way you e-commerce at a pace faster than a lot of retailing experts have predicted. The processing of Internet-based transactions for the e-merchant creates a new set of opportunities and challenges. With Klickback.com, PayPoint’s goal was to quickly provide new and reliable Internet payment processing products and services,’ said Fred Coblentz, PayPoint’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. ‘As part of the solution, we introduced Fulcra PayPoint SDK, a state-of-the-art NT software toolkit. This tool can significantly reduce development and certification time. Potential savings to the merchants in terms of time and money are tremendous!’
‘From start to finish, PayPoint was very professional and detail oriented. They were ‘in Sync’ with our payment processing needs and understood our e-commerce business model’ said Peter Taylor. ‘Klickback.com just closed a deal with Metrocall Inc., million of its 5.8 million customers with a self-funding loyalty program, so we expect transactions to begin ramping up rather quickly.’
Los Angeles-based PayPoint Electronic Payment Systems (http://www.paypointeps.com), a wholly owned subsidiary of ARCO, is a leading national electronic payment transaction processor and a pioneer in retail electronic payment systems. PayPoint introduced the first domestic point-of-sale debit processing capabilities at ARCO retail locations in 1984 and today continues to provide comprehensive and payment solutions that reflect the quality, innovation and cost efficiency that are the core of PayPoint’s retail heritage.
Klickback.com, Inc. based in San Diego, California, is a leader in e-commerce and on and offline incentives for consumers and corporate clients. Klickback is the owner of iRewards, an incentive and loyalty currency that is similar to frequent flier miles, except they can accumulate quicker both on and offline and have better redemption value. Each iReward equals a dollar, and can be redeemed for products and vacations at Klickback.com. iRewards are earned on all purchases at Klickback.com and customized Web sites and from a variety of other sources. Klickback.com is an online superstore that offers its members significant savings on a wide selection of brand name services and products, plus fast accumulation of iRewards. Service and products range from satellite TV and long-distance phone service, to electronics, books and CD’s.
The Fulcra PayPoint SDK provides POS and other software developers an easy way to interface to PayPoint’s payment authorization network. It provides a simple programmer’s interface, which hides all of the complexities of message formats, network protocols, and transaction processing business rules. Fulcra, which is located at 5252 Balboa Avenue, Suite 401, San Diego, California, develops and markets Microsoft Windows based Point-of-Sale (POS) and store management software applications for the retail industry. For more information about Fulcra, please visit their web site at .Details
ReleaseNow.com, a leading provider of business-to-business e-commerce solutions for software publishers and resellers, this week announced a strategic business agreement with eCHARGE Corp., the next generation online payments company. Under terms of the agreement, users purchasing software through vendors in ReleaseNow.com’s network can elect to charge digital goods and services to their local telephone bills rather than to a credit card by using eCHARGE MY PHONE. eCHARGE is improving online payment methods by offering users feature-rich, convenient and secure ways of making online purchases.
“By allowing consumers to buy products over the Internet and charge the purchases to their phone bills, eCHARGE MY PHONE is opening up e-commerce to an entirely new group of potential customers,” said Carolyn Rogers, chief executive officer of ReleaseNow.com. “This agreement lets our clients — who include the top software publishers in the world — tap into a previously unreachable e-commerce market.”
“We are committed to eliminating the barriers to e-commerce by empowering Internet users with convenient and secure ways to shop online,” added Ron Erickson, chief executive officer of eCHARGE Corp.
eCHARGE MY PHONE is gaining widespread acceptance from on-line customers who are reluctant to use credit cards over the Internet due to security and privacy concerns, as well as from potential customers who don’t use credit cards. eCHARGE MY PHONE is also more convenient than other payment options because it eliminates the need for customers to enter shipping and other personal information with each purchase.
About eCHARGE Corporation
Founded in 1997, eCHARGE Corporation, the next generation online payments company, is improving global online payment methods by offering users feature-rich, convenient and secure ways of making online purchases. eCHARGE’s payment solutions are used by Internet merchants, telephone companies and Internet Service Providers worldwide, including BFD Productions, AT&T, BCTelus, Telia, Cable & Wireless, Intershop Communications, OpenMarket, Classmates.com, MPlayer.com, Gamestorm.com, DirectCredit.com, Cindy.com (Cindy Crawford Fan Club Site), Homeworkhelp.com and Canadian Cancer Society. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, eCHARGE has offices in Vancouver, British Columbia and London, UK. For more information go to ([http://www.eCHARGE.com]) or call 1-800-766-4677.
ReleaseNow.com is a leading provider of business-to-business e-commerce solutions for software publishers and online resellers. The company enables its customers to market, sell and deliver more software through a comprehensive line of e-commerce services, including online store creation and operation, transaction processing, marketing and merchandising. ReleaseNow.com’s broad selection of e-commerce delivery options enables software publishers to customize the online buying experience. ReleaseNow.com is headquartered in San Carlos, California. The company can be reached at [http://www.releasenow.com].
Integrated Merchant Services, Inc., an Interactive Technologies.com, Ltd. company, announced Thursday that it has a four year revenue sharing agreement with Union Planters Bank to provide Visa and MasterCard services to select Internet businesses and other industry related merchants that do not meet the bank’s current underwriting criteria, including commercial and retail storefronts, to the Central and South Florida region branches of Union Planters Bank.
IMS offers a complete array of bankcard processing services for merchants. The IMS processing services include acceptance and processing of all major credit cards, both face-to-face and Internet e-commerce sales. Additional services include check verification, debit card processing and ATM machine sales, and IMS’s most recent e-commerce clearing gateways over the Internet. The IMS Internet e-commerce gateway solution allows merchants to accept credit cards on the Internet, protect the credit card number of the customer, through a simple and secure web site form, and receive notification of the transaction in real time. IMS also provides a unique product which allows merchants to log on to their own Internet web site to process or authorize a transaction that is not Internet related, eliminating the cost of the traditional credit card terminal hardware.
IMS anticipates a significant increase to its merchant portfolio, generating in excess of five million additional credit card transactions per month, by year-end 2000. Revenues, based on five million transactions, are expected to exceed $250,000 per month in net proceeds.
In addition to transactions revenues, Merchant Processing Hardware and Software application sales for replacement, upgrades, and Y2k compliant bankcard equipment are expected to generate gross receipts exceeding $1 million.
IMS will promote a “Real Time” secured credit card processing center to all merchants who desire to sell their products via the Internet. The encryption takes place on the merchant’s web site host, who then dials through a secured processor to obtain an authorization from the card issuer. The transaction takes only seconds to approve, and notifies the merchant to fulfill the “End User or Customers” purchase.
“We have created a complete solution for merchants accepting credit cards for their products and services over the Internet. Offering this one-stop solution to our merchants, positions our company to take advantage of this emerging sector, and we are excited to be associated with Union Planters Bank,” said William R. Becker, CEO of Interactive Technologies.com.
About Interactive Technologies. com, Ltd.
Interactive Technologies.com, Ltd. is a leading provider of high-technology Internet business solutions. Its Internet company, Web Classified.net, is an international provider of auto-generated high-technology Web sites in an Internet yellow page-like format. Web Classified.net hosts its operations at Florida’s only Internet Network Access Point (NAP), through United Interactive Technologies, Inc. (“UIT Net. World”), another Interactive Technologies.com company. The UIT Net.World NAP is not congested and utilizes high-speed fiber-optic connection to the Internet. UIT Net.World is a leading provider of high technology Internet business solutions and e-commerce business solutions.
Another subsidiary, Ubuy.com, Ltd., is a nine year-old online membership benefit and service company that offers over 30 different money-saving online benefits and services to consumers, businesses, employees, fund raising organizations and large associations and their members. Ubuy.com’s database contains over 15 million households and approximately 500,000 businesses. Integrated Merchant Services (IMS), another INTR subsidiary, provides merchants with the ability to accept credit cards, debit cards, smart cards and check transactions. IMS specializes in issuing merchant accounts for mail order, in-home and Internet services. For additional information, please visit the company’s investor relations web site at [www.intrinfo.com].